Reforming The Webby Awards

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I’m not griping about Tuesday night’s Webby Awards simply because MotherJones.com, winner of 2005 and 2006 Webbys for Best Political Blog, wasn’t even nominated this year. I’m griping because I don’t think that the awards show is headed in the right direction.

First, it’s not televised. The result is that awards nominees don’t get the same attention that Broadway performers (at the Tonys) or even sound technicians (at the Oscars) do. Why can’t web awards be a full-fledged red carpet event? With Tim Gunn tactfully commenting on Arianna Huffington’s poor taste in dress, or kooky Joan Rivers telling Kevin Drum that his wife looks great, even though he has actually brought his cat Domino as his date?

In its infancy, it was nice that Webby Award winners were limited to five word speeches. But now that so many winners are among the world’s best and brightest, I think we’d all like to hear what they have to say in more than 1/3 of a haiku.

As for the award categories themselves, they need to be reformed. Individual bloggers, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and other talented people don’t get the recognition they deserve by way of the Webby’s current list of 70 generalized categories.

And while Mother Jones has clearly reaped the benefits of winning these awards, the fact that they are “pay to play” makes it such that some web sites never get the recognition they deserve.

Maybe it’s up to someone else to start a new system of web-based awards. How would one go about doing this? Easy: First give the awards more visibility and hype than the Webbys, then give the winners a higher karat statuette.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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